Southampton’s shirt sponsor has offered to pay them performance bonuses in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin after extending its partnership with the club.
Coingaming Group, whose Sportsbet.io brand became Saints’ main partner at short notice after they abruptly dropped LD Sports just before the start of the season, agreed a deal for a further three years.
Hailing the sponsorship agreement as the biggest in the club’s history, Southampton said it “also includes the option for the club to be paid certain performance-based bonuses in Bitcoin at the end of each season, allowing the club the opportunity to take advantage of the new, high-growth currency if it feels it will bring significant future benefits”.
Southampton chief commercial officer David Thomas said: “The team at Sportsbet.io have built a successful business by challenging convention and disrupting the market, but in a responsible way, and their approach to our partnership with them has been no different.”
“In a short timeframe, they’ve proven to be innovative, forward-thinking and extremely supportive of the club, our fans and the wider community, and we’ve welcomed the opportunity to develop and promote safe gambling messages together. As such they have become valued partners and we look forward to the next chapter together.”
Southampton decided in August to terminate what was a three-year contract with LD Sports amid fears over future funding and failing to “secure confirmation” that it was “still an appropriate and viable partner”.
The Chinese company was only one year into the deal and, while Southampton did receive the full £6.5million payment for the first season, concerns had escalated over whether the company would be able to fulfill the contract. They said that attempts were made to gain reassurances but that these were not satisfactory.
The decision saw them conduct urgent tests on replica kits to see whether they could replace the sponsor logo with that of Sportsbet.io or would need to provide brand new shirts to fans.